Stories about government

A Syrian refugee’s message to the European Union

When we first got here we had money to buy a little food. Now it’s gone. We stand in line for hours for a sandwich. My husband told a journalist recently, “People are fed up. Maybe tomorrow they will break down the gate and flood across the border.” The journalist said, “How many weapons do you have?” If we knew how to carry weapons or wanted to carry weapons we would not have fled Syria. We want peace. We are sick of killing. We fled a war, and now the European Union is making war against us, a psychological war. When we hear rumours that we’ll be let ...

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In Pakistan, we have 13-year-old rape victims

The terrible news of a 13-year-old girl, raped and impregnated by her teacher in Larkana, Sindh, breaks the heart over and over again. The only good thing about this is that the teacher has been arrested, and has confessed to the crime (now that the child is four months pregnant). A powerful essay talks about how nobody in the government has taken notice of this case. Worse, the community blames the victim’s family for not protecting her “honour”. Supposedly they should have protected her “honour” by either never letting her go to school in the first place, or by killing her as soon as they ...

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You can work as a waiter or a driver in the US, but not in Pakistan

My love for Pakistan is unfathomable! From the lush green valley of Chitral to the hustling bustling streets of Lahore, my love for my country has, in fact, grown over time. Pakistan is my home – mom’s food, sister’s amazing chai, random hangouts with school friends, street food, the streets of Lahore; the list of things I absolutely adore about my home is unending. When I came to the US, initially I thought this journey was more like a survival challenge for my existence. I was nostalgic and missed everything about home. But now I feel those things are not missed so much ...

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Salahuddin Chowdhury and Ali Ahsan Mujahid hangings: A case of ‘judicial murder’?

Salahuddin Quader Chowdhury, a senior opposition leader and former minister in Khaleda Zia’s government, and Ali Ahsan Mohammad Mujahid of the Jamaat-e-Islami party were sent to the gallows last Sunday. The state of Bangladesh held them accountable for war crimes committed during the 1971 war of independence. The state’s actions have received widespread criticism from opposition parties and international human rights groups – not for their alleged war crimes, but in the way the entire trial was conducted. The defendants were not given a fair opportunity to produce their witnesses for their defence. The International Crimes Tribunal had awarded capital punishment to Chowdhury and Mujahid in October 2013. The Supreme Court of Bangladesh, ...

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It is grossly unfair to accuse Modi alone for the growing intolerance in India today

India has been the cradle of religious pluralism for centuries. It is one of the few countries in the world that has been home for people belonging to different religions, castes, creeds, cultures, languages that, not only seamlessly assimilated to the Indian ethos, but also contributed significantly to the art and culture. Moreover, for centuries, Hindus, Muslims, Christians have coexisted peacefully. This has been primarily due to the tolerance shown by the Hindus towards people professing other faiths.  India, during the Mughal rule, excelled in art and culture – the many monuments we see today, like the Taj Mahal, Red ...

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Their maddening, disappointed passion and the silent love

“It is neither a story of hatred, nor of love; it is not even a fatalistic story. It is a story of sheer indifference towards oneself and those loved, one that eats away a human soul slowly, bit by bit but persistently. It is a story of spiritual paralysis caused by maddening disappointed passion.” Nadia was standing by the window of her office, which offered a spectacular view of the main boulevard, with an air of untroubled poise which was reflected in her quiet dark brown eyes outlined with a dash of kohl. Her frozen, soft face complimented the stillness of her ...

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Chaand Raat and Eid are just not the same in Karachi anymore

It’s safe to say that Eidul Fitr tops everyone’s list if asked which Eid they prefer, simply because it has always been the easiest way to make money without having to do anything over a span of three days.   I would fall into the same category of those who like ‘choti Eid’ more for the same reason. These motives of looking forward to Eid seem quite shallow, but that’s the only exciting aspect for children, apart from eating unhealthy amounts of food over Eid holidays. But as I grew up, I slowly grew to realise what Eid is all about. It’s a way of thanking Allah (SWT) ...

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Here is why I can’t trust the police in Pakistan

A friend’s recent encounter with the police has left me fuming. He was waiting for his sister outside a restaurant on a busy road, when a transvestite tried to get into his car. Seconds after he told the transvestite to go away, a police mobile stopped next to his car, as if waiting to pounce on him and hurled a series of accusatory and demeaning questions at him. He had not been committing a crime nor attempting to do so, then why was he dealt with like a culprit? And would he have been treated the same way had he been in an ...

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Is there any solution to Karachi’s trigger-happy muggers?

I sat there, bewildered; you expect it, consciously, yet subconsciously you believe you’ll be immune from it, somehow, by some grand scheme of the universe. Once the calm after the storm had washed over, it was replaced with a racing pulse and bouts of anger. Inadvertently, I uttered a curse directed at that hooded figure that only moments ago had stood in the figure of a knell beside me. After four years in Karachi, I somehow believed I had become equipped in the tools of avoiding being mugged. I barely used my phone while in the car or in public transport, ...

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Pakistan needs to stop spending on its defence so much

It was October 30, 2003 – 11 and a half years ago – when someone at The Economist penned an article titled Pakistan’s economy: Feeling undervalued. For the next three years, every Taimur (Tom), Danial (Dick) and Haris (Harry) praised and rejoiced the unprecedented economic growth rate in the history of Pakistan. But what happened with the West’s financial press that suddenly – and finally – people started taking about a Pakistan with something else to offer than its role in War on Terror? The answer is surprisingly simple; falling oil prices – and the economic growth that followed suit. In the fiscal ...

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